Annual Report 2018

Striving for excellence.

Our aim is clear: We want to be number one for our customers, shareholders and employees. We can achieve this by consistently positioning ourselves as a premium airline. What does that mean? Fulfilling, and even surpassing, our customers’ expectations each and every day. Sustainably strengthening the value of our brand and our Company via a diverse range of measures to maintain our future viability. Recruiting and retaining the best talent as a first-choice employer. This striving for excellence can be seen in many ways at Lufthansa Group – in our numbers, innovations and successes. You can find a selection here in our online Annual Report. Embark on a voyage of discovery!

To our shareholders

Striving for value

We want to be first on the stock market, too: The Lufthansa share should always be a worthwhile investment. We are a growing company with solid roots and we have clear strategies to ensure our future is profitable. We have recorded the second-best result in our history and we offer consistency in our dividends – all of this, and more besides, makes the Lufthansa share an investment that adds value. Read here how Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO Carsten Spohr assesses the 2018 financial year.

Letter from the Executive Board

Ladies and gentlemen,

Last year at this time we talked about the 100th anniversary of our brand symbol, the crane, which coincided with the most successful year in our Company’s history.

By refreshing our brand image, we have begun a new chapter in the history of the Lufthansa Group. The modern design embodies our combination of tradition and innovation and underlines our aim of setting standards in our industry.

In 2018, our financial results fulfilled this aim: The Lufthansa Group was one of the few companies in the sector to have achieved the targets set at the start of the year. Despite numerous challenges, the result was almost on par with the previous year. Integration costs at Eurowings in connection with the takeover of significant parts of Air Berlin, irregularities in flight operations and much higher fuel costs added up to a massive financial burden. Profitable growth and efficiency gains nevertheless enabled us to compensate for most of these adverse effects.

Network Airlines performed particularly well in this difficult environment. The results of Lufthansa German Airlines and SWISS broke new records. The Logistics, MRO and Catering segments all beat their previous year’s results too.

Our appreciation of these good figures is clouded, however, because 2018 was an ambivalent year. We did not always live up to our premium promise to our customers, and disappointed many of our passengers with delays and flight cancellations. The entire air transport industry – from the airlines to airports and air traffic control – revealed operating weaknesses last year as a result of disproportionate growth in air traffic. We reacted promptly and are working with our partners to find good, fast solutions for our customers.

Our contribution consists of a whole bundle of measures: We are drastically increasing the number of reserve aircraft and recruiting more than 600 additional employees to ensure stable processes. We are building more slack into flight timetables and extending ground times to prevent delays from rippling across the whole day. And above all we are paying great attention to improving communications with our customers, in order to give them full and timely information when their flight does not go as planned. Altogether we have defined more than 400 individual measures, which are the responsibility of the specially introduced Executive Board function for Airline Resources & Operations Standards.

All this is intended to encourage our customers to refocus on what sets us apart from our competitors: our high-quality product, which in Europe at least has no equal. In future, we want to give our passengers even more individual service in order to represent their personal needs even better. It starts with little things that betoken a premium experience in a given situation, but also includes innovations that will set new standards in our market segment.

This includes the newly developed Business Class that we will be installing in the new Boeing 777-9s in the coming year, for which we are the launch customer. It will be the most spacious and individual Business Class that we have ever had on our long-haul routes. The renewal of the fleet is having a positive impact on the Lufthansa Group in many other ways too. A 20% cut in fuel consumption enables us to sustainably reduce CO₂ emissions and costs.

In direct traffic, we want to make Eurowings what we already are with our Network Airlines: the leading European airline in its segment. 2018 was an extremely difficult year for Eurowings, because it had to deal with an unprecedented growth spurt in a very short period of time. Now that the integration is complete, flight operations have to become more reliable and more stable again in order to improve customer satisfaction. This should also increase profitability at Eurowings, because we are simplifying structures and processes that in some cases became extremely complex in the course of the takeover.

Ladies and gentlemen, our airlines are leaders in Europe’s strongest markets. This has also put us in a strategic position for future profitable growth. Brexit, trade conflicts and the impending downturn in the global economy mean that the outlook for us and our industry is subject to some uncertainties. But the long-term demand for air travel will continue to rise, regardless of the ups and downs of the global economic cycle. This growth is increasingly coming up against the limits of existing infrastructure, as we experienced painfully last summer. Smaller airlines and new entrants to the market will find it more and more difficult to compete under the current circumstances. As the market leader, we will benefit from this consolidation. We are therefore confident that we will be able to continue increasing the value of our company going forward. The title of this year’s annual report, “Striving for excellence” puts it very well: We want to set standards in our industry – for the good of our shareholders and all our stakeholders.

We would be pleased if you would continue to accompany us on this journey.

Frankfurt, March 2019
Carsten Spohr
Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Carsten Spohr
Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Creating value for our shareholders

Three questions for: Dennis Weber, Head of Investor Relations at Deutsche Lufthansa AG

What are the advantages of investing in the Lufthansa share?

It is not just an investment for shareholders who have “kerosene in their blood”. Apart from the fascination of aviation, there are convincing financial reasons for buying shares in Lufthansa. The Lufthansa Group is in a stronger position today than ever before. Our earnings in 2018 confirm that we have sustainably improved our business model. We therefore have the ideal conditions to continue recording profitable growth in the coming years. We want to include our shareholders to participate in this growth by increasing our company value and continuously paying a dividend. 

In a nutshell: How does Lufthansa distinguish itself from its competitors?

We serve all relevant market segments in Europe’s strongest economies via Network Airlines and Eurowings, which offers direct connections. With Lufthansa German Airlines, SWISS and Austrian Airlines, we have strong brands that stand for excellent quality. And with Eurowings, we have become the third-biggest provider of direct flights in Europe within a very short period of time. We intend to significantly increase its profitability in the coming years. 

What do you regard as key issues for the future?

Our focus in the short term is on improving our operational stability, reducing our unit costs further and completing the turnaround at Eurowings. However, this will not be at the expense of other issues such as our digitalisation initiatives, the successful implementation of our distribution strategy and the modernisation of our fleet. Above all else, our aim is to achieve sustainable and profitable growth and maintain a balance between the interests of our customers, shareholders and employees at all times.

Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, on the activities of his committee in the 2018 financial year.

To the Annual Report

  • Lufthansa share cannot evade difficult market environment.
  • Majority of analysts continue to recommend buying share.
  • Annual General Meeting will propose dividend of EUR 0.80 per share.
  • Dividend yield at 4.1%.

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Business model and strategy

Striving for magic moments

Our top priority is the sustainable increase of our future viability and the value of our company. This includes safeguarding and expanding the leading market positions of our airlines and companies. For this reason, we consistently invest in our products and services and in our fleet. At the end of 2017, we became the first and, to date, only airline in Europe to be awarded the title of “Five Star Airline”. This, and the introduction of the new brand design for Lufthansa German Airlines, demonstrates the Company’s high quality standards, modernisation and strengthened competitiveness. Our New Premium strategy, which we introduce to you here, builds on this.

Premium in a new dimension

Champagne and caviar? Today, premium means more than that. Every customer is unique and has their own individual preferences and expectations. In a competitive environment with luxury carriers at one end and low-cost airlines at the other, the Network Airlines of the Lufthansa Group must define premium in a way that distinguishes them from their rivals. We have achieved just that with “New Premium”.

Special moments of surprise

This new premium standard shared by Lufthansa German Airlines, SWISS and Austrian Airlines is simpler, friendlier and more personal. The key factor is what the customer regards as premium. New Premium is created by two types of experiences: Those that are apparent at first sight, and those that reveal themselves in very special moments of surprise, delighting customers. “Brilliant Basics” and “Magic Moments”.

Appreciating our customers

Uncomplicated booking, faster check-in, tasty food, reliability and comfort: All of these are basic services that customers expect. When their quality is second to none, they become Brilliant Basics. 

With Magic Moments, we redefine customer appreciation: Problems are resolved before they arise, and customers are delighted by individual, personal treatment. This can be an attentiveness that is both simple and unique, such as a hand-written birthday greeting placed on their meal tray. These Magic Moments, and others besides, can be experienced at all of the Lufthansa Group’s premium airlines – along the entire travel chain and not just on board.

Network of superlatives

The Lufthansa Group has a comprehensive global route network. In the 2018 summer flight timetable, the Lufthansa Group passenger airlines operated a route network comprising 343 destinations in 103 countries.

Network Airlines 

  • Comprehensive route network combined with the highest level of travel flexibility thanks to the multi-hub strategy.
  • Further expansion of premium positioning and of European and long-haul route networks.
  • Additional short- and long-haul tourist destinations.
  • In the 2018 summer flight timetable, the route network of Lufthansa German Airlines, SWISS and Austrian Airlines comprised 287 destinations in 86 countries, served via the international hubs in Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Vienna.


  • Wide range of direct connections, particularly from German-speaking countries.
  • The route network was served from a total of 13 bases in the 2018 summer flight timetable, comprising 197 destinations in 62 countries.

Lufthansa Cargo 

  • The cargo airline offers connections to more than 300 destinations in around 100 countries.

Joint ventures: best connections

Commercial joint ventures with leading international airlines also make connections more attractive for customers, partly by adding new destinations to the route network. Commercial joint ventures exist with United Airlines and Air Canada on routes between Europe and North America, and with All Nippon Airways (ANA), Singapore Airlines and Air China on routes between Europe and Japan as well as Singapore and China respectively.

  • The Lufthansa Group is one of the world’s leading aviation companies. 
  • Business segments hold leading market positions in their sectors. 
  • Executive Board has six members as of 2019.

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  • Group builds on Network Airlines, Eurowings and Aviation Services – airlines form the core of the Lufthansa Group.
  • The focus is on developing premium positioning, cost reductions and profitability increases.
  • Consolidation, flexibility and digitalisation offer great opportunities.
  • Strategy aims for sustainable increases in Company value.

To the Annual Report

  • Fleet was significantly expanded in 2018.
  • Fleet strategy aims to standardise and reduce number of aircraft models.
  • Fleet size can be adapted flexibly to fluctuations in demand.
  • Extensive route network optimised continuously.

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  • With more than 135,500 employees around the world, the Lufthansa Group is a truly global Company.
  • Process-based reorganisation should be completed by year-end 2019.
  • Comprehensive diversity approach is strengthening competitiveness.
  • Long-term collective agreements with labour union partners enable sustainable success.

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Group business performance

Striving for efficiency

Efficiency is a key factor in our success. In order to safeguard our long-term competitiveness in this challenging industry, there is a particular emphasis on optimising processes and realising synergies throughout the Group, for example through the use of the lean management approach. This is the basis for our achieving profitable and sustainable growth in the future, as we have in recent years.

Key figures 2018


Total revenue in €bn


Adjusted EBIT in €m


Adjusted ROCE in %


Dividend in €

Successful course of business

The Lufthansa Group again reported strong growth in 2018. The airlines in the Lufthansa Group carried a total of 142 million passengers, more than ever before. New highs were also achieved in terms of capacity, sales and passenger load factor. 

Revenue increased by 6% after adjusting for the effects of first-time application of the accounting standard IFRS 15 (Revenue from Contracts with Customers). Adjusted EBIT for the Group saw a decline of 4% year-on-year to EUR 2,836m (previous year: EUR 2,969m). The Adjusted EBIT margin fell by 0.4 percentage points to 7.9%. On a like-for-like basis, adjusted for changes in the accounting, Adjusted EBIT came to EUR 2,714m and so was 9% down on the previous year.

The cause of the earnings decline was losses at Eurowings, primarily in connection with high non-recurring expenses for integrating the aircraft acquired from Air Berlin into the fleet. The earnings of Network Airlines and Aviation Services were up on the previous year, however. Considerable unit cost reductions and profitable growth at Network Airlines were more than able to compensate for higher fuel costs and other expenses due to irregularities in flight operations.

Increasing efficiency with lean management

Harmonising workflows, minimising waste – these are the principles behind lean management, a philosophy of process optimisation. As part of its corporate strategy, the Lufthansa Group plans to embed the lean management culture more deeply. To achieve this, it set up a Group-wide lean programme in 2018. The focus here is on the following areas of action:

  • Offering every internal and external customer the services that they genuinely want, thereby further increasing the quality of services and the level of customer satisfaction. 
  • Avoiding complexity in internal workflows.
  • Strengthening competitiveness by applying the “learning organisation” mentality with the lean management approach.
  • Incorporating the principles of lean management more deeply into employee training and development at all hierarchical levels.

Application throughout the Group

For us, lean management not only means that we consistently apply efficient methods. Above all, our holistic development of expertise allows us to become a company that is continuously learning. The lean management expertise that already exists today as a result of various initiatives at individual Group companies will be used throughout the Group in top projects as part of the lean programme. More than 20 projects are planned for 2019 alone, in both operating and administrative areas. The aim of these is to communicate lean management in a pragmatic way, thereby ensuring that the principle is applied throughout the Group.

  • Global economic growth has slowed slightly. 
  • German economy expanding slower than European economy overall. 
  • Euro appreciates against all other key currencies. 
  • Short-term interest rates remain low. 
  • Significant fluctuations in oil prices.

To the Annual Report

  • Aviation remains a structural growth industry. 
  • Sector earnings suffer from rising costs.
  • Airfreight market grows for second consecutive year. 
  • MRO market benefits from growth in global air traffic. 
  • Airline catering market growing in all segments served.

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  • Earnings for the Lufthansa Group down on previous year’s record figure due to losses at Eurowings alone. 
  • Earnings of Network Airlines and Aviation Services up on the year. 
  • Network Airlines make up for higher fuel costs with cost cutting and profitable growth. 
  • Eurowings burdened with non-recurring expenses for integrating the aircraft acquired from Air Berlin.

To the Annual Report

  • Revenue up by 6% on adjusted basis. 
  • Higher fuel costs, integration expense at Eurowings and costs for irregularities in flight operations burden earnings. 
  • Strict cost management ensures Adjusted EBIT stays at a high level – down 4% year-on-year. 
  • Capital expenditure of nearly EUR 3.8bn serves largely to modernise the fleet. 
  • Equity ratio of 25% underlines balance sheet strength. 

To the Annual Report

  • Lufthansa achieves its earnings target despite significant headwinds. 
  • Profitable growth and efficiency gains compensate for almost all expenses.

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  • Key figures from the consolidated financial statements of Deutsche Lufthansa AG

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  • Key performance indicators of Deutsche Lufthansa AG in ten-year overview.

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Business segments

Striving for a strong network

To ensure that flying is a positive experience for our customers, we manage a wide range of tasks with our strong network, from MRO to logistics to airline operations including catering. In each area, we strive for top-quality service, as our goal is to be a hub of the best. To achieve this, we focus on growth, continuously modernise our fleet and offer first-class service and enjoyment above the clouds – and sometimes even into outer space.

Business development

  • Network Airlines segment comprises Lufthansa German Airlines, SWISS and Austrian Airlines.
  • Focus on premium positioning, new distribution strategy and operational stability.
  • Earnings higher than previous year, despite higher fuel costs.

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  • The Eurowings business segment focuses on the growing market for European direct sales.
  • Concept is based on the central steering of various flight operations. 
  • Takeover of key parts of Air Berlin significantly strengthened market position. 
  • Fast growth consolidates place as third largest provider of direct flights in Europe. 
  • Integration expenses significantly reduced earnings.

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  • Lufthansa Cargo is Europe’s leading freight airline. 
  • Quality improvements and global partnerships strengthen market position. 
  • More efficient processes lead to lower costs and greater flexibility. 
  • Customers profit from increasing digitalisation. 
  • Revenue and earnings up year-on-year.

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  • Lufthansa Technik is a leading global provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul services for civilian commercial aircraft. 
  • Focus on innovation and digital products. 
  • Continuous cost reductions sustainably improve earnings. 
  • Revenue up, primarily due to higher extra-Group income. 
  • Earnings up on the previous year.

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  • The LSG group is a leading global provider of airline catering.
  • Transformation of business model leads to greater flexibility and agility. 
  • Strong customer interest underpins strategic realignment.
  • Revenue stable year-on-year. 
  • Adjusted EBIT significantly higher.

To the Annual Report

  • AirPlus expands product portfolio and focuses on core business segment. 
  • Strong expansion of training capacities weighs on earnings at Lufthansa Aviation Training. 
  • IT companies expand their business. 
  • Result of Group Functions suffered from absence of previous year’s non-recurring effects.

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Striving for a sustainable business

As a major company in our industry, we also have a major responsibility – towards the environment, people and society. Corporate responsibility is therefore an integral part of the Lufthansa Group’s corporate strategy. For us, sustainable business practices mean creating value for customers, employees and investors and supporting the climate, the environment and social concerns. You can find out here how we put these goals into practice – particularly with regard to our environmental impact.

Supporting the environment and climate

24.3 thousand tonnes less CO2: Our internal programmes to reduce kerosene consumption led to a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 as well. This is one of many contributions that will enable us to fulfil our corporate responsibility, since Sustainability is a prerequisite for the long-term financial stability and attractiveness of the Lufthansa Group for its stakeholders.

Strategic environmental programme

For many years, for example, we have taken steps to minimise the environmental impact of our business operations. To this end, we follow a strategic environmental programme that is applied in all areas of the Group. Its main fields of action are the reduction of emissions, active noise abatement, and energy and resource management.

Investing in a modern fleet

The most important driver for reducing CO₂ emissions and aircraft noise is continuous investment in modern, particularly economical aircraft and engine technologies. By the end of 2025, the Lufthansa Group should receive 193 new aircraft, which stand out particularly due to their low fuel consumption and noise emissions.

Alternative fuels and more efficiency in airspace

For several years, we have also been involved in researching and using alternative fuels in aviation. We support the efforts of the EU to improve the organisation of European air traffic control systems. By creating a more efficient EU airspace, unnecessary detours can be avoided, thereby reducing CO₂ emissions.

If you would like to know more about corporate responsibility at Lufthansa Group.

  • Lufthansa Group intends to fulfil its role as a leading player in the aviation industry, also in terms of sustainability.
  • Corporate responsibility is an integral part of the corporate culture.
  • The combined non-financial report focuses on the aspects of environmental concerns, customer concerns, employee concerns, anti-corruption and bribery, human rights, social concerns and sustainability in the supply chain as an interdisciplinary topic.
  • Report is based on the GRI Standards 2016.

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  • Executive Board and Supervisory Board work together closely to sustainably manage Company value.
  • The recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code were complied with, with one exception.
  • Comprehensive management system helps to ensure compliance.

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Striving for future success

Digitalisation is and remains a central topic related to future viability. Structural and procedural changes at Lufthansa are also part of this major trend. We are therefore taking advantage of the opportunities provided by digitalisation and networking at many levels. Read here about the innovations, projects and measures we are using to make continuous improvements – in the interest of our customers as well as our own efficiency and profitability.

Interconnected, intelligent: Digitalisation at Lufthansa

Disproportionately increasing amounts of data, increasingly digitally-savvy end customers, rapidly growing start-up dynamics: The airline industry is currently undergoing fundamental changes along the entire value chain. The Lufthansa Group is ideally prepared to meet the structural challenges that result from digitalisation.

Digital centres of excellence

To accelerate the digitalisation of its core business, the Lufthansa Group established several centres of excellence in 2018. Teams of developers in the Digital Delivery Labs of Lufthansa Systems are working on the Lufthansa Group’s mobile applications and enhancing standardised application programming interfaces (APIs).

Innovation Hub goes Asia

At present, more than 2,500 technology companies (startups) are focused on travel and mobility. In order to systematically deal with this ecosystem, the Lufthansa Group established the Lufthansa Innovation Hub (LIH) in Berlin in 2014. In 2018, it was named “Germany’s Best Digital Laboratory” for the second time in a row. Around 60% of the venture capital invested in travel and mobility technologies worldwide currently relates to Asia. For this reason too, the Lufthansa Group expanded the LIH to Singapore in 2018. Another location in Shanghai is planned for the second half of 2019.

Passengers benefit from innovations

Numerous digital innovations in our core business have already been well received by passengers. At the start of 2018, Lufthansa became one of the first airlines in the world to introduce contactless boarding using facial recognition at Los Angeles Airport; this is set to be expanded to other locations. For rebooking and other customer service queries, passengers are increasingly served by digital assistants (chatbots). This provides them with quick assistance when they need it. 

A total of around 40 digitalisation projects are currently ongoing at the Lufthansa Group. These cover all areas where customers come into contact with us, and an additional EUR 100m will be invested in them this year.

For even more service and competitiveness

New distribution strategy

The Network Airlines of the Lufthansa Group are working hard to implement their new distribution strategy. Following the introduction of a charge for bookings via global distribution systems (GDSs) primarily used by travel agents, such as Amadeus, this year the Network Airlines connected additional partners to the Lufthansa Group’s direct and NDC channels. This has brought the number of global partners to more than 2,000 by now. As a result, offers to customers can be increasingly differentiated and tailored to their individual needs.

Dynamic pricing systems

Conditions were also established for the next step to improve the commercial offering. Lufthansa German Airlines, SWISS and Austrian Airlines will continue to make their pricing systems more dynamic and will introduce continuous pricing. More precise price increments will make the airlines more competitive in price comparisons, thereby increasing the passenger load factor and bolstering unit revenues.

Uniform online experience

Simultaneously, the Network Airlines are gradually merging the separate technologies for online sales with online self-services. The digitalisation of key service processes (check-in, rebooking, cancellation) will be continued together. This is also intended to ensure the customer has a seamless online experience across all websites. In the future, they will also be offered the entire product range of all of the Network Airlines on their individual websites.

  • Global economic growth set to slow further. 
  • IATA projects growth of 6% in global revenue passenger-kilometres. 
  • Lufthansa Group expects Adjusted EBIT margin of 6.5% to 8.0% in 2019.

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  • The management of opportunities and risks is integrated into all business processes. 
  • Opportunities and risks are identified early and are managed and monitored proactively. 
  • Group risk management also includes CSR-relevant issues and their risks for external stakeholders. 
  • Opportunities are exploited selectively.

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